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Managing Mass Fatalities

Managing Mass Fatalities: A Toolkit for Planning is a comprehensive toolkit that evolved from recognition of the need for communities to increase their preparedness for managing mass fatalities. Its focus—the care and management of the dead—is one of the most difficult aspects of disaster response and recovery operations. Toolkit materials are based on lessons learned from actual events, including the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina. The toolkit provides scalable, operational direction and tools to guide jurisdictions in creating a local plan.

Highlights include:

  • Identification of stakeholders involved in mass fatality management and recommendations for a planning process that is co-led by public health and the medical examiner/coroners office;
  • Specific guidelines for all medical examiner/coroner responsibilities at the incident site, morgue, and family assistance center;
  • Guidance on infection and other health and safety threats; and
  • Requirements and recommendations for managing mass fatalities during a worst-case scenario pandemic influenza.

How to Use Toolkit

The Managing Mass Fatalities Toolkit is designed to give you easy access to all the documents you will need to create your local plan. Each document is available in its original format (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint) as well as a PDF document.

Click on a section link below to view or download the narratives/tools. If you do not have Microsoft Office or PowerPoint on your computer, you will only be able to view documents as a PDF file using Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, you can download it here. The Acrobat Reader will allow you to view and print the documents but you cannot edit or customize them.

Customizing the Documents

The documents on the Managing Mass Fatalities Toolkit can be edited or customized to suit your specific requirements. To edit/customize a document, save it to your computer and open it with Microsoft Word or Powerpoint (you must have Microsoft Word and/or PowerPoint already installed on your computer). These documents can be opened and edited using either PC or Mac versions of the Microsoft software.

Many of the documents have fields where information can be inserted or spaces where information specific to your needs can be added. Most of the documents also have a bar graphic at the top of the page referencing the APC (Advanced Practice Center). This graphic can be removed if necessary by going to the "View" menu in Microsoft Word and highlighting "Header and Footer". Once the "Header and Footer" view is accessed, you can select the graphic and delete it.

The Managing Mass Fatalities Toolkit is arranged in sections that can become your local plan. 

To order your own complimentary CD-ROM with the same documents, contact:
National Association of County and City Health Officials

Advanced Practice Center
1100 17th Street, NW, Second Floor
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 783-5550
Fax: (202) 783-1583
Or visit the NACCHO toolbox - a free, online collection of local public health tools produced by members of the public health community
  • IntroductionWord IconPDF Icon
  • PowerPoint Presentation Mass Fatality ManagementPowerPoint IconPDF Icon

  • ​Planning Context NarrativeWord IconPDF Icon
  • Concept of Operations Narrative
  • Incident Notification/Plan Activation Narrative FormWord IconPDF Icon
  • Notification of Mass DisasterWord IconPDF Icon
  • Command and Control NarrativeWord IconPDF Icon
  • Job Responsibility ChecklistsWord IconPDF Icon
    • Coroner's Services Branch Director Job Responsibility Checklist
    • Deputy Coroner's Services Branch Director Job Responsibility Checklist
    • Common Responsibilities Job Checklist
  • Human Remains Recovery Narrative 
  • Responsibility Checklists  
    • Scene Evaluation Team
    • Scene Investigation Branch/Human Remains Recovery Officer in Charge
    • Human Remains Recovery Logistics Officer
  • Death Investigation Record or DMORT Site Recovery Record Form  
    • Incident Site Recovery Record
    • Release of Copyright
    • Transportation Log​
  • Morgue Services Narrative
  • Job Responsibility Checklists
    • Morgue Services Officer in Charge
    • Morgue Logistics Officer
  • Chain of Custody Form
  • Embalming Classification of Human Remains Form
  • External Preparation/Embalming Case Report Form
  • Release of Human Remains Form
  • Transportation Log Form
  • VIP/DMORT Anthropology Form
  • VIP/DMORT Program AFIP/DNA Specimen Form
  • VIP/DMORT Program Clothing Inventory Form
  • VIP/DMORT Program Fingerprinting Form
  • VIP/DMORT Personal Information Questionnaire Form
  • VIP/DMORT Program Jewelry Inventory Form
  • VIP/DMORT Program Pathology Form
  • VIP/DMORT Program Radiology Form
  • VIP/DMORT Program Tracking Form
  • ALL Morgue Forms listed above
  • Family Assistance Narrative
  • Job Responsibility Checklists
    • Family Assistance Center Officer in Charge
    • Family Assistance ME/C Officer in Charge
    • FAC Logistics Officer
    • Common Team Leader Responsibilities
  • FAC Priority Action Checklist for Startup Form
  • FAC Daily Status Update Form
  • FAC Daily Staff Registration Form
  • FAC Family/Friend Registration Form
  • FAC Daily Sign In Log Form
  • VIP/DMORT Personal Information Questionnaire Form
  • Requested Record List Form
  • Call Center Forms
    • Call Record and Family Member Contact Form
    • Crisis Call Center Intake Form
  • Release Authorization Form
  • ALL Family Assistance forms listed above
  • Public Communications Narrative
  • Job Action Sheets
    • JIC Lead Public Information Officer (PIO)
    • JIC Manager
    • JIC Media Relations Lead
    • JIC Research and Writing Lead
    • JIC Special Projects
    • JIC Field Deputy PIO
  • Death Certificates and Disposition Permits Narrative
  • Security Narrative
  • Security Tools
    • Physical Security Assessment
    • Security Plan Template
    • Traffic Control Plan Template​
  • Mass Fatality Information Systems Narrative
  • Staff/Volunteer Processing Center Narrative
  • DMORT Team Member Data Form
  • Family Concerns and Religious/Cultural Considerations Narrative
  • Infection and Other Health and Safety Threats Narrative   

  • FAQs: Management of Cadavers
  • Pandemic Influenza Narrative

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Our mission is to prevent disease and injury and create environments that promote and protect the community's health.